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Septic Systems

Decentralized System Partners

EPA's Decentralized Wastewater Management Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Partnership

EPA and 20 partner organizations are joined by an MOU to work collaboratively at the national level to improve decentralized performance and protect the nation's public health and water resources. EPA initiated this MOU partnership in 2005 through an MOU with eight public and private sector organizations. The MOU has expanded over the 15 years, comprised of 20 partners as of September 23, 2020.

Image of logos of decentralized partners

2020 Decentralized Wastewater Management MOU

The 2020 MOU renewed the commitment of EPA and its partner organizations to work together to encourage proper management of decentralized systems and increase collaboration among EPA, state and local governments, and decentralized system practitioners and providers.

2020 MOU Signing Event

At the MOU signing event, 20 public and private sector organizations expressed their intent to work together to improve management of decentralized wastewater. (Note, due to the 2020 MOU Partnership renewal meeting being a “virtual” event, the image shared below is from the 2017 renewal meeting.)

Decentralized MOU Participants, November 14, 2017 (photo credit: Eric Vance, U.S. EPA)
Top Row (left to right): Gaida Mahgoub (U.S. EPA, ORISE), Heidi Faller (U.S. EPA), Zach Lowenstein (U.S. EPA), Tim Williams (WEF), Alexandra Dunn (ECOS), Deirdre Mason (ASDWA), Gene Bassett (NAWT), Dr. Sharunda Buchanan (CDC/ NCEH), Dain Hansen (IAPMO), Julia Anastasio (ACWA), Sandra Whitehead (NEHA), James Blumenstock (ASTHO)
Bottom Row (left to right): Dr. Amit Pramanik (WE&RF), Sharon Steiner (NSF), Mary Clark (SORA), Dr. Andrew Sawyers (U.S. EPA), Matt Holmes (NRWA), Michael Shapiro (U.S. EPA), Jim Bell (NOWRA), Dr. Richard Bajura (NESC), Nathan Ohle (RCAP)

Jim Bell (NOWRA President) signs the Decentralized MOU Agreement, November 14, 2017 (photo credit: Eric Vance, U.S. EPA)

2017-2020 Accomplishments of the EPA Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership

The 2017 – 2020 Accomplishments Report highlights key accomplishments for the MOU renewal period 2017-2020. The information has been provided by members of the EPA Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership. The document focuses on the MOU Partnership’s priorities to:

  • work with state and local government entities on outreach to homeowners with septic systems, such as the annual homeowner awareness campaign, SepticSmart Week;
  • obtain accurate decentralized system data nationally;
  • emphasize the growing decentralized system technologies;
  • leverage financial mechanisms for homeowners with septic systems; and
  • promote education and training for the decentralized workforce.

Papers by the Decentralized Wastewater Management MOU Partnership

View four position papers prepared by the MOU Partnership for state, local, and tribal government officials, and interested stakeholders. These materials include information on the uses and benefits of decentralized wastewater treatment and examples of where it has played an effective role in a community's wastewater treatment infrastructure. 

  • Introduction to Decentralized Wastewater Treatment: A Sensible Solution
  • Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Can Be Cost Effective and Economical
  • Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Can Be Green and Sustainable
  • Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Can Protect the Environment, Public Health, and Water Quality

Fact Sheets by the Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership

Webcasts by the Decentralized Wastewater Management MOU Partnership

Additional Affiliates to the Decentralized Program

Provides information for county officials, including legislative affairs, projects and programs, and conferences and events.

Offers tools and programs for local health officials on various issues. It also offers an up-to-date review of public advocacy issues and a comprehensive bookstore.

The Water Program section of this website has information on grant programs and informative pamphlets.

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